In precision mechanics, metrology and coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) are essential to ensure accuracy and quality of products intended for various industries. Within a metrology room, coordinate measuring machines are used. Let’s see what they are and how they work.


What are CMMs?

Coordinate measuring machines are instruments used in metrology to measure the geometry of three-dimensional objects. CMMs use a Cartesian coordinate system to locate the position of objects and thus determine their dimensions and shapes. Coordinate measuring machines consist of a work platform on which the object to be measured is placed, a measuring probe that moves along the X, Y, and Z axes of the platform, and a control system that records the measurement data.

CMMs can be of different types, such as bridge, portable arm or table-top. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages and is used based on the specific measurement requirements. Coordinate measuring machines are used in various industries such as the automotive, aerospace, mechanical, medical, and dental industries. In these sectors, CMMs are used to control the quality and precision of components, for example by verifying compliance with design drawings.


Characteristics of CMMs:

Metrology and inspection techniques are critical to ensuring the highest levels of precision and accuracy in mechanical components and systems. Here are some of the recent advancements in this field:

  • Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs): CMMs are machines used to measure the geometric characteristics of mechanical components. Recent advancements in CMM technology have improved their accuracy, speed, and versatility. For example, some modern CMMs use optical sensors and lasers to achieve sub-micron accuracy in 3D measurement.


  • 3D Scanning and Imaging: 3D scanning and imaging techniques have revolutionized the way mechanical components are inspected and measured. With 3D scanning, it is possible to quickly and accurately capture the shape and dimensions of a component, and use the data to create a digital model that can be used for analysis and simulation.


  • Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Methods: NDT methods allow for the inspection and testing of mechanical components without damaging or altering them. Recent advancements in NDT methods include digital radiography, which uses digital imaging technology to create detailed images of the inside of components, and eddy current testing, which uses electromagnetic induction to detect surface and subsurface defects in conductive materials.


  • Optical Metrology: Optical metrology techniques use light and optics to measure the characteristics of mechanical components. These techniques include interferometry, which measures the interference patterns of light to determine surface contours and measurements, and digital holography, which uses holographic principles to capture and analyze the shape and dimensions of components.


  • Portable and Handheld Inspection Devices: Advancements in miniaturization and portable technology have led to the development of handheld and portable inspection devices that can be used on-site or in the field. These devices include portable CMMs, portable 3D scanners, and handheld optical measurement tools.


In summary, recent advancements in metrology and inspection techniques have significantly improved the accuracy, speed, and versatility of measurement and inspection processes, allowing for higher levels of precision and quality in mechanical components and systems.